Content, design and deliver. These three aspects will help you embrace your creative confidence that will lead you to creative presentations. Ever since college, Kenny Nguyen learned that large companies tend to be weak in their presentations. He shares techniques developing personality without being imitating. Sam Henderson explains superannuation and the difference of retirement in the US and in Australia. He encourages people to set their retirement portfolio financially and mentally so it becomes an asset allocation that will see them through good and bad times. Learn how he is helping Australian Boomers with their retirement.
We have Kenny Nguyen and Sam Henderson. Kenny is an interesting guy. He’s the CEO and Co-Founder of ThreeSixtyEight. He can give you some great advice about how to give great presentations from his Big Fish Presentations. He’s written a book about it, he had a company that dealt with, it and he’s got his third company. Sam “The Money Man” Henderson is very well-known in Australia. He is the CEO and Senior Financial Advisor at Henderson Maxwell. He’s also known for his Foxtel’s SKY News Business show.
Listen to the podcast here:
Embracing Your Creative Confidence with Kenny Nguyen
I am here with Kenny Nguyen, who is the CEO and Co-Founder of ThreeSixtyEight, a strategic marketing agency that challenges brands to embrace their creative confidence. Prior to this, he founded Big Fish Presentations, a company whose mantra is “Turning presentations into experiences.” His client work has included brands like GE, Verizon, CenturyLink, Quantcast, TED, and NASA. He’s been featured at speaking platforms like TEDx, Google Talks, HubSpot INBOUND Conference, and General Assembly. He has contributed on Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo, Business Insider, Mashable, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post, and he co-authored the McGraw-Hill published book, The Big Fish Experience: Create Memorable Presentations That Reel In Your Audience. Since that’s released in 2016, it’s been translated in two additional languages. It’s nice to have you here.
Thank you so much.
Can we start with The Big Fish?
Big Fish happened while I was a college student. Long story short, I attended LSU during my college years and around 2011 was when I attended a boring presentation. Big Fish is a company that helps people tell amazing stories to great presentation design, presentation training, conference production, and video production. What it aims to do is we want to rid the world of boring experiences. We do it as a service line with ThreeSixtyEight. It all stems back from this college club that I attended where we had a super boring speaker come and present. We had a guy from a Fortune 200 company come in. I was the guy that was in charge of making sure he had all his AV set up. When he came in, he gave me his USB drive. When the guy said, “Make sure my presentation is not too much.” I was thinking, “What do you mean? You have 30 minutes?” I remember when I put it in the USB drive, I saw 200 slides. I looked at him and I was like, “Don’t do this.” He went and gave the presentation. It was about two hours instead of 30 minutes and he read off every single slide and started laughing at his own jokes. What made it even worse is when he started answering his own questions. During that moment, I started thinking to myself, “What if there was company that can help people tell amazing stories and also help presenters like these become better?”
I started thinking, “Companies that are large have weak presenters like this.” Chances are I could probably create a business to help them because I always felt like I was a great public speaker. It dawned on me that, “Why don’t we help these companies better present and better tell stories?” We formed the company, Big Fish Presentations. I dropped out of college to pursue it full-time. One of my advisors, when I was coming in to talk about my future college career, she told me, “You should intern at this new startup in town called Big Fish Presentations. You will like it. It seems like it would be your vibe.” I told her “I own that company.” She was like, “What?” I told her, “That’s my company. I’m a student, too.” She flat out took off her LSU minister cap and said, “I’m going to use a real dose of reality right now. What are you going to do after college?” I told her, “This.” She was like, “Then do it. You can always go back to college, but this doesn’t come every day. Make the most out of it.” That’s when I pursued it full-time. That’s where my story began.
Did you ever go to college? Did you continue to do it?
I did go back a semester. By the time I left, I was a sophomore. After leaving, I felt the societal pressure that I go back, and I had to finish. Also, a cultural pressure being Vietnamese, education is something very priced within the Vietnamese culture. I remember thinking to myself like, “This is stupid. I’m not giving my 100% to either one of these.” For me, you never half-ass something, you whole-ass something. That’s what I always say and what my dad always tells me. I’m like, “Might as well whole ass this company and see where we can take it.” That’s when things started changing. I don’t tell everyone to drop out of college, but I do say, “Don’t mistake things as its default priority.” Just because college is what society says, doesn’t mean it’s always the right choice. There’re always alternatives. Don’t think you have to do this because society tells you, “You have to do it.” Everyone has a different definition of success. Everyone’s journey is different. I am no Bill Gates, but they did have the idea that there are alternative ways of learning. Sometimes, the best college is the hard knock life out there or the elbow grease that you get when you go out. It hurts way more when you lose a $50,000 deal than getting an F in a class. That’s something I had to go with when I had to go pitching at someone and I remember not getting there on time and not doing the right proposal because I had to study for exam. I failed the exam, I didn’t get the proposal. I remember I was looking at it and I’m like, “This one hurts way more. What am I doing?”
I loved your little video. You’re from Louisiana. You have a background as a musician and you went to be a chef. You have a very eclectic background. You’re creative. That’s your overall theme.
I met my business partner, Gus, through music. I am nowhere the great musician as he is, but we bonded over that. When I was a kid, the way that I got out of trouble was going in the kitchens and learning and applying all that boundless energy, the ADHD I had, into like “Let’s make some good things for people that can bring people together.” Unfortunately, I missed the chance for a culinary scholarship and so I left the country and reevaluated my life. This was when I was 17 when I left the country, two months in Vietnam, to go reflect and see, “What do I want to do?” During this time, it dawned on me that what I want to do is I want to open a business. I want to learn how to run a business, and maybe one day I’ll open a restaurant.
How’d you learn to run a business?
I started an entrepreneurial organization at LSU after seeing there were no entrepreneurial organizations at LSU. I never had a business but I surrounded myself with people that built businesses. I wrote a petition before I started the company. I went up to all the local CEOs in town. One was a $6 billion company. The other was $1.5 billion company. These CEOs were like, “We don’t have an entrepreneurial organization at LSU. I’ll sign your petition.” From that, I got into their network. They would come in as speakers and I would learn from them. They would mentor me and that started giving me the confidence saying that, “I might still be in college. You can be an entrepreneur anytime that you want. It depends on how much value do you bring to the world.” That’s when I started thinking like, “What’s something that can be brought to the world?” In the beginning, I failed my first business doing Wii whiteboards, which is I can turn any Wii Remote controller into an infrared pen if I hooked it up to Nintendo Wii Remote. I can turn any whiteboard that you have into a smart board. It was cool, but I didn’t know the technology as well as I should and it was a commodity. I had to think about, “What do people need?” I find that if you can alleviate a lot of fears in people’s lives, like public speaking and claustrophobia is one of the most common fears. There’s a business for that where you can eliminate fears.
You’re a good speaker. I’d like to talk about helping people speak. Some people are hall of fame speakers and they know how to do it, but a lot of them have to speak and don’t know how to do it. A lot of them want to have TEDx talks. With the TED, they have the formula, they want you to tell stories, they want you to do certain things, don’t use PowerPoints unless it’s pictures. There’re all these different messages of how to give a great presentation. I know you have the three parts, the content, design, and deliver. What do you do if you’re not the greatest speaker, but you want to be a better speaker and you have a terrible memory? If you don’t have your bulleted PowerPoint 200-slide presentation, what would you tell if he says, “I can’t remember it if I don’t look at my slides.”
The default is to allow people to see his presentation notes, but what I do tell people is like, “If you have a problem remembering a whole entire fifteen-minute presentation, you got to chunk your time.” I do the same thing where if I have to present this for ten minutes or fifteen minutes, I don’t rehearse all the way through the first session. We have an outline in the Big Fish book where we separate things that we discuss. The first is you rehearse your intro and you rehearse your first major point, your second major point, and then your third major point, and you rehearse your closer individually. I find that when you are able to rehearse different parts of your presentation, you can perfect that certain part. Then you can bring it together to see how well it melts. You’re more able to remember it even if you don’t have the greatest memory. It’s daunting. If I told you to remember 30 minutes of material, you are going to think like, “I can be like an actor or an actress,” I have to perform the right body movements, the right facial gestures. I have to say the right tone and voice for each. Going through 30 minutes of rehearsal on that and you screw up, you’re going to throw your phone at the wall, thinking “Oh.” It’s like how do you eat an elephant? You can take a bite at a time. It’s the same thing with great presentations. It is a little bit at a time. Rehearse a little bit at a time and you’ll get there.
That’s a common thing I talked to my doctoral students about because they get to write the hundreds of pages sometimes for their doctoral dissertation, and it’s overwhelming. You have to take things a little bit at a time. In speaking, there’re certain personality types that are natural to it. How do you develop your personality without trying to imitate something that you’re not?
People always compare themselves, like “I want to be Steve Jobs.” Because he’s seen as the archetype of what a great presenter is. You’ve probably heard it before is like, “I want to be the Steve Jobs of this.” He, in my opinion, is one of the best presenters in this modern era. No one’s going to be Steve Jobs because he became the best version of himself. I always tell people, “You can learn from the best, but don’t try to be like the best. Be your own version of what the best looks like.” You have a unique definition of success. It’s the same thing with presentations. You want to be able to look at yourself and say, “I’m the best version of Kenny” or “I’m the best version of Diane.” The first is acceptance, accepting that I’m going to be the best version of myself. That makes a huge stride on what you are. The second is when you do rehearse, it’s important to record and watch yourself. The reason why is we are our biggest critics. If you’re able to watch yourself and play it and you can’t stand this presentation, there you go. That’s the thing on my TED talk. I watched it about four or five times, and after the fifth time I went, “I can’t sit through this anymore.” I didn’t love it. I didn’t feel the spark and the emotion. Every great talk, you have to tug at the heartstrings. You have to tell data that sounds human. You have to be able to engage with the audience and make them laugh, make them smile, make them feel something in the first 30 to 60 seconds because that’s where you build bonding or rapport.
I don’t know any other presenters that do this, but if you can watch your talk more than five times, you’re in a good place because you would never ever want to give a presentation that you wouldn’t want to sit through yourself. You are able to improve yourself in ways that you never thought you could when you watch your own presentation. People could pick up my book, The Big Fish Experience, and try to learn every theory, but that’s a lot. You have to go through content, you have to go to design, you have to delivery. If all you do is watch yourself present, you can figure out what exactly do you need to fix because everyone knows what a bad presentation looks like. People don’t know have to give it. If you’re able to see it, you’ll be able to say, “I need to fix my tone. I’m pacing too fast.” Those are the most common things. The other one is my facial feature like I’m not smiling enough. Those are things that you can immediately tell within the first 30 seconds.
I’ve noticed that men seem to have a more dynamic delivery in general. What do you think women have the most challenging times with when they come to you and needed help?
It’s the opposite at least with my clients. The women that we get to work with or the women I get to see, they’re better or more easily coached. At the same time, they’re able to relate more emotionally. It’s not an objective fact. Maybe women are able to relate more emotionally from the get-go than a man. There are different circumstances, but the women that I do coach, they’re able to connect much more quickly with the audience. The men are fine after a little bit of mentoring, but I feel like it’s second nature to some of the women clients that we have. They are immediately able to say, “I’m going to open up with a funny story about my life. I’m going to tell a personal story about my life.” They default to a story. That’s always great because stories are great ways to build a bonding rapport with an audience. Either that or they’ll say like, “How about I tell a testimonial” or “How about if I talk to someone in the audience?” That’s exactly what you need to do. When you go onstage, and you become a lecturer, no one’s listening because you’re back in college. If you’re having a conversation with someone in the audience and the audience aren’t observers but participants, that’s when the real magic happens. The venue makes a huge difference. One of my mentors who worked at Disney told me, “Whenever you go to a conference room or on a stage and you see that you’re leveled above the audience’s eyes, your audience is more likely to be an observer rather than a participant.” Try to find a stage where you meet your audience’s eyes. That’s where they become more participatory than being an observer. Being able to pick up on those cues easily and be able to read on that and finding ways to connect with audiences much quicker, that’s important. The women clients that we do have tend to move quickly on that. They’re able to connect and bond. As a presenter, when you’re on stage, you want that security knowing that people in the room have your back.
Sometimes if you’re on a big stage, you don’t have a lot of choices and some of those are depending on where you are. I imagine on TED, it’s easier because you are on the same level. You said you didn’t like your TED Talk. What would you have done differently? What advice would you give somebody who wants to do a TED talk? What have you learned?
I went at it. I found that there’s a creative process to making great presentation. For me, I always thought to myself, “I’m going to teach people how to say no.” I didn’t flesh out a big idea. A big idea is your central argument for the presentation that would challenge someone’s way of thinking. For me, The Art of Saying No, the TEDx Talks that I gave, was all about how most people wield the sword of ‘yes’, but many don’t wield the shield of ‘no’. If you wield the shield of ‘no’, you’re more likely to protect herself. There are people saying, “We love to say yes rather than no. Yes makes you feel more fulfilled.” I disagree. It’s a great thing because once you disagree, people are more likely to have an elicit responses and more likely to trigger a response. If you hear the same thing over and over, let’s say you’re buying a car over and over again, I will give you the same pitch. You’re going to think maybe it all sound the same. If someone says something that you might disagree with, you’ll immediately go, “No, that’s not true.” That’s when you start talking and that’s when you realize like, “I can’t coast on this.” Big ideas are meant to make the other person say, “I don’t know about that.” My job as a presenter will say, “I know you aren’t convinced. Let me work on you with that.” Once I’ve found the big idea of my presentation, the rest fell into place. My call to action was motivating people to wield the shield of ‘no’. My main points, I told it through stories and then I work on my opener last. The reason why I worked on my opener last is I always tell people, “You always have to begin with the end in mind. Work on your big idea and call to action first, and then your opener last.” It’ll always make more sense when you know where you’re going when you plan a trip.
This is something I wished I learned before, but this is the process I follow in all my speeches. It is big idea first, call to action next. It can be a demand, an offer or a question. Those are three different types of call to actions. What are my three main points? If you’re able to so and so rule three, people are more likely to remember. I say, “If you have three main points, tell it in tweetable lines,” so people can Tweet it or they more easily remember it, and then work on your opener last. It’s more social media. You think about 140 characters to make a main point, that’s not much, but you’re more likely to remember it.
People say, “Look for the contrary viewpoint on what you’re doing or what your point is.” That could be sometimes hard for some topics, to find the thing that is not the way everybody thinks.
Don’t be a lecturer. A lecturer is informing. Be a conversationalist. In a conversation, you’re trying to get something out of the other person. It’s not like “I’m going to buy from you.” It’s their wants, it’s their needs. It’s an emotional response. Presenters need to be conversationalists, not lecturers.
In that situation they can’t respond back. How do you have a conversation if they don’t respond back?
Either you hear it in the Q&A or you can tell in their body language. You can tell if someone disagrees with their body language. People say when you see the crossed arms, it’s arguable because sometimes people cross arms because of comfort. There are other little telltale signs like they avoid eye contact, they looked past you, they put their arms at the back of their head, and they lean back. I can tell that other person wants to reclaim the power in the room if I see them kickback and they put their arms in the back of their head. Another one is if they say something to me and I see a little crease in their forehead when they squint a little bit with their eyebrows. There’re certain little telltale signs that you can tell if someone doesn’t agree with you. A good presenter will be able to address that.
It’s very challenging to get people engaged. I’ve seen that a lot of people have done these great TED Talks and a lot of people would like to learn how to do other kinds of talks as well. When all the work you did for this second company, how did that lead to this ThreeSixtyEight?
At ThreeSixtyEight, we always wants to extend the conversation past the stage, so we work with people on the stage. We want to work with people off the stage and that include brands. Big Fish always helped people become more influential because public speaking, if you nail it right, you become a thought leader. When you become a thought leader, people listen to you. These brands want the same thing. They want to be heard, they want to be influential. We thought to ourselves, “We need to extend their influence on and off the stage.” We help people with their presentations. Unilever is one of our clients, so we help Unilever with some of their keynote presentations for their speakers. We also help their HR Department with marketing. We merged with a company called Hatchit, 368 feet down the road, hence the name ThreeSixtyEight, to become a strategic marketing firm where we specialize in digital marketing. That comes on where we do the presentation stuff. I find that great presenters need to be heard not only in the audience but also throughout the world. That’s why it came as a hand-to-hand service. We can make the people in your company and also your brand become more influential. That’s what it’s all about for us. It’s influence.
Maybe you could also mention this Assembly Required. What is that?
It’s our conference series that we do. If you’re going to claim that you do a service, you better do it for yourself. Assembly Required is everything that we do as a company put into a conference series that we market and curate and deliver ourselves. We had Assembly Required: Creatives in Tech and it was a great success. We had speakers all over the country come in like Moët & Chandon, GE, Facebook, and we curate these. If you want to see any of the talks, AssemblyRequiredLA.com/videos. You can see there what we do. It’s great because we practice what we preach and that’s what we gut check, “How can we get better at our service lines?” Sometimes we might not have to work for a client at which cost with this insane idea like I came in on a DeLorean in the middle of the crowd, or I came in with Back of Future car with smoke coming out. It looks like an insane person would think about it, but people loved it. I can say, “We did it. Here’s the video and how people loved it.” That’s why whenever we go and pitch these big crazy ideas, people believe us because we do it for ourselves. We do it for our community down here in Louisiana. ThreeSixtyEight is all about challenging our clients and our community to embrace their creative confidence. We do the same thing to our conference series where we challenge our audience members, “Embrace your creative confidence.” We do it ourselves and our clients will say, “They try it to, so they’re not pitching it to us because they want to do the work. They believe it and they have the experience doing it for themselves.”
You focus nationally, not just in Louisiana?
We have more national clients than local clients. We’re passionate about Louisiana. We want more work in Louisiana, but we’re working on clients accepting these more creative ideas. It’s getting there. We definitely invest a lot into the community. We’re even moving our offices into another space in Baton Rouge because we’re all about staying in Louisiana and making it better. The town here is great. You can be wherever you are in the world and do great work. You just have to know the right people. We play in some good networks where we can meet the right opportunities.
Thank you so much. Is AssemblyRequiredLA.com the main one? Anything else you’d like to share?
If you want to see any of my talks, you can go to my personal website, TheKennyNguyen.com. You can see my former TED Talk, my Assembly or my HubSpot talk, How To Be the Coolest Person in Your Funeral on there.
Superannuation In Australia with Sam Henderson
I am here with Sam Henderson who is the CEO and Senior Financial Advisor at Henderson Maxwell. He’s also known as Sam “The Money Man.” He hosts Foxtel’s SKY News Business, Your money, Your Call Retirement and financial guru on 10’s The Project. He’s the author of The One-Page Financial Plan. He’s a regular columnist for Financial Review’s Smart Money and Money Magazine. He’s a public speaker and presenter on all things financial. It’s so nice to have you here.
It’s a great pleasure to be joining you.
You’re here in Arizona?
I’m here in Arizona. I’m doing a bit of a conference with a group of entrepreneurs learning how to be a better entrepreneur sand sharpening my skills.
You’re here with Joe Polish’s group and I’ve gone to those events. They’re amazing. Are you at the Genius Network event?
I’m at the Genius Ex event, which is a group of about 25 of Joe’s group. They are the most inspirational group that I’ve met in quite some time. It’s worth the effort from flying from Sydney, Australia over to the beautiful Arizona that I’m learning so much about.
It would be interesting to hear your perspective of the financial issues in Australia versus what we see here. I was watching all your shows and everything is superannuation. I’m like, “What? What is this?”
Superannuation is all about retirement. It’s very similar to 401K. It has its own laws. It has its own legislation. There are case studies around all of those things. When I’m answering people’s questions, it’s a matter of putting them at ease about their retirement and giving them a much greater insight into their retirement. Most people don’t know how much they need to retire, they don’t know how much they need to accumulate during their working life, and how much to put aside as they were earning their income in their working life. The situation in Australia is exactly the same as the situation in the U.S. The biggest difference between Australia and the US is the population. Everything else is similar.
The average retirement in Australia, the average person’s probably drawing down somewhere around $40,000 to $45,000 a year. To accumulate that sort of income, they need a lump sum of somewhere around $600,000 to $800,000. The market I moved in is probably a little bit bigger. The average client is probably over a million dollars, but you do typically find that with financial planners because they’re the clients that are seeking advice. They probably have a little bit more insight, a bit more education, and a much greater buy in to their retirement and a much greater understanding of the retirement system. That’s what I do on a commercial level, but in my media, it’s about answering questions that everyone has. The key to that is education. That’s what bridges the divide between those people that have money and those people that don’t. It’s all about educating yourself about how to lower your taxes and how to build your retirement lump sum.
It’s never too late to educate yourself. I’ve written three books. They’re probably not relevant over here in the U.S., but a book can only cost you $30. You don’t have to go and pay a financial planner several thousand dollars a year. You don’t have to even pay $30 for a book. What we found in Australia, and no doubt it’s the same here, is that most people educate themselves from the media. That can be for the better or for the worse. If you’re training on something you see everyday and you’re listening and trying to react to everything you’re seeing on TV, there’s a reason why they call it the cartoon business network because there’s so much information. A lot of that’s about entertainment as well. I would encourage the people to educate themselves about the 401Ks and any other ways that they can reduce their tax and boost their retirement income.
I interviewed Ken Fisher. He is the genius behind Fisher Investments. I was reading one of his books and he was saying that, “If you follow the news, you’re too late. All the factors are built-in already of what’s going to be good for stocks or not for stocks.” Do you agree with that?
I completely agree with that and that’s why we call it the cartoon business network. I work for a very similar organization in Sydney, Australia. We call it Sky News Business, and you are literally reacting to the news that’s already happening. You’re never going to keep up to pace with it. All you’re going to do is get confused by more information. People need to set their retirement portfolios around having an asset allocation and making sure that that asset allocation is going to see them through the good times and the bad. I’m not talking about it financially, I’m talking about it mentally. You need to have a certain amount. You’re going to be an emotional mess. You only have to understand Warren Buffett’s theory of Mr. Market who is an emotional mess. Depending on whether he’s optimistic or pessimistic, he is going to depend on how he reacts in that day. Who wants to spend their retirement sitting in front of a computer monitoring what’s happening on the share market? You should be out there playing golf or bowling or traveling. Having spent a lot of time on the American highways, that’s what a lot of people are doing. I see them driving their RV’s around and they’re towing their little cars behind their RV’s. They’re the wealthy Americans. They’re the ones that can afford a gigantic RV and a car to pull behind it. Your average American probably can’t do that. The average balance in a 401K is about $19,000. It’s quite low. That’s the average. That means they’ve probably got multiple accounts or the average person is not putting away for their retirement.
I was looking at the average salaries in America, which is about $75,000 a year and that’s exactly the same as what it is back home in Australia. The US dollar is worth a little bit more here. People always like to know what the averages are. The average range for income is probably about $47,000 to about $120,000 in the combined households. Combined households, on average, have about $117,000 income in the U.S. That’s a pretty good living. The thing people don’t realize is that if you’re going to retire on that amount, you’re going to have to be saving about 15% to 20% of what you earn. That’s the hard part when the cost of living has been rising for a long time.
I’m sure you have the same thing in Australia with the Boomers wanting to retire but can’t retire. It’s very challenging for people to know what to do with their money. Even if you set up your 401K that would take out 15% and you’re doing the maximum every year, you watch the stock market take huge lumps out. You think you’ve got it somewhere and then you have stock here. Is it best to be in the stock market? It seems like everybody that’s so wealthy is in real estate. What do you think?
Sometimes the issue is depending on where you buy real estate. It’s about diversification. The average person can’t necessarily diversify because they probably don’t have enough money to diversify, Whereas wealthy people, they’ve got high incomes to support a portfolio of assets, be it shares, be it property, cash, funds, fixed interest. What we try to encourage our clients to do is to have a portfolio that is diversified and that also relates directly to your risk profile or your attitude towards risk and your partner’s attitude towards risk because your partner has often a different attitude towards risk than you might have. We see that everyday. Day in, day out, they’re always either arguing or discussing or debating how much access or how much exposure they should have to cash and fixed interest or defensive assets versus growth assets.
On an entrepreneurial level, property is one of the best wealth builders because you can borrow somebody else’s money, you can leverage that, and then you can have somebody else repay that debt through the tenant. The tenant repays the debt that you’ve got on your home loan. That’s a fantastic idea, particularly when interest rates are so low. This is one of the biggest challenges that the share market has. It is when we see a major paradigm shift like we’re seeing at the moment. The first time in ten years, we’re seeing interest rates start to rise in the US and that’s having an effect on the bond market. That’s therefore having an effect on the Dow Jones and on the S&P 500. The Dow Jones was up 30% this year and it dropped 10% in a week. That sends shockwaves to retirees if they have too much exposure to the share market. Our job as a good financial advisor is to try to encourage people to diversify their investments and make sure they can ride out the ups and downs of the share market, and importantly, without too much stress.
I agree with the diversification. I used to be a loan officer and I’ve worked in subprime. We did see a lot of people get hurt from subprime loans because we expected the market to stay a certain way and it doesn’t. Like Ken Fisher says, “It’s already happened in the news.” How can you be proactive?
You have to educate yourself if you want to manage your own money. This is the big debate, do you manage your own money, or do you get a professional to manage it for you? You’re better off getting a professional to manage it for you. Unless you want to follow the share market and educate yourself on the property market and educate yourself on the bond market, there’s no way you can possibly know and understand how things are going to progress in any of the markets. Then you get tempted, something straight out of left field might happen, like Bitcoin, you say, “Let’s get on the Bitcoin thing.” It hits $19,000 and then next week, it’s sitting at $8,000. You’ve got to be careful, you can’t be impulsive, and you’ve got to take a long-term view. If you’re not sure, if it’s not your level of expertise, get a professional to do it. Find a good RRI that’s recommended by family. Someone that’s already tried and true to your loved and trusted community is someone that you need to look for.
You mentioned Bitcoin. Wolfgang Koester was on my show and he’s an expert in cryptocurrency and different types of currency. It’s a hot topic with everybody and it’s very volatile, but he was saying that all these countries are going to start having their own currency. Do you think that Australia or the U.S. will have their own cryptocurrency?
I don’t think it’ll happen simply because there needs to be so much regulation. There’re a lot of issues with Bitcoin, which are holding it back from becoming mainstream. You can’t use it everywhere. It’s not like the U.S. dollar. You can use the U.S. dollar anywhere in the world. Anyone will accept it. It’s the world’s strongest currency and is ubiquitous, yet a crypto has not gone to that level yet. Not only that, it’s completely unregulated and it’s significantly open to hacking, and we’ve seen that occur in a number of areas already, so it’s not necessarily secure. It’s too complex. Until it’s regulated, until it’s more ubiquitous like the U.S. dollar, it’s a long way from being used. It will happen at some time in the future, whether it’s Bitcoin, Ethereum, or something else. I don’t know what it’s going look like, but I can guarantee one thing, the government’s going to have its hand in its pocket and it’s unlikely to be Bitcoin.
If the government does come up with their own cryptocurrency like that, what happens to the Bitcoins of the world?
They’ll disappear because they’re not liquid. If the government comes in and says, “We’ve developed our own crypto,” I would say they will be wiped off the planet immediately. Bitcoin, Ethereum will be wiped off the planet immediately. It’s like having the U.S. dollar versus the Thai Baht. No one’s going to use the Thai Baht here in America or in Australia. On a practical level, we’re in new territory here. All of these things need to be tested, but it comes down to liquidity. A currency needs to be liquid and needs to be utilized. We need the systems to be able to facilitate that on an average day. The iPhone or the Galaxy, whatever it might be, it already is our wallet of the future, so we’re still going move it on to that platform.
It is fascinating to see what’s going to happen and to look at some of these cryptocurrencies. How do you advise somebody who’s thinking of getting into cryptocurrency? First of all, how to get out of it? I hear so many people tell me, “I made all this money.” I go, “Where is it?” They go, “I have to get it out.” Then you say, “Can you get it out?” Most of them can’t get it out. How do you get it out? Is it a hard thing to do?
Back in 2007 during the subprime crisis, most people couldn’t explain what a subprime loan was. They couldn’t understand how they were packaged up into a CDO. They couldn’t understand how they were resold and they couldn’t understand the entire process of how and why the financial system fell over. Those people that are buying cryptocurrency, the majority of them probably can’t understand what it is. They understand Blockchain and how it operates and they’re even explaining to your friends what it is. If you can’t understand it, if you can’t explain it, don’t buy it. It’s not liquid. It’s expensive to exchange. It’s unregulated, it’s open to being hacked on a regular basis, and we’re seeing stories all the time. Some countries are either banning it or trying to regulate it, South Korea, Japan. That has created huge levels of fluctuations. If you were thinking about investing into this thing, unless you have millions and millions of dollars and you might put say 2% to 5% aside for playing with, then don’t touch this thing because it’s too unknown. It’s too difficult to understand, so don’t put your money in it. Put your money in things that you can understand.
The whole mystery behind the guy that started it, where is he, and he started talking to the people about what he’s done and then he disappeared. Is that an individual? Have they proven this? Is this guy ever going to come to life? Is it you?
I’m not sure, but it would make the greatest Disney story of all time, wouldn’t it? This guy is going to be like the sleeping prince who gets to keep the white horse. It’s a fantastical story, so I have no idea. I have as much as an idea as anybody else. It’s definitely entertaining and it’s riveting. It’s like a Hollywood story. It’s great.
I teach a lot of business courses and we do a lot of case studies. Enron comes up a lot as an unfortunate example of don’t invest your retirement account, all your money, in the company for which you work because if they crash, not only do you lose your job, but you lose your retirement. Do you agree?
Entirely. A lot of those companies in the past have had their pension schemes backed by the actual company themselves. That’s one of the difficulties that we have when a company falls over because it’s only as good as the company behind it. It also goes towards the theory of diversification, making sure that you’ve got a number of different assets in a number of different asset classes, so cash, bonds, shares, international shares. America is not the only market in the world. We use ETFs extensively in Australia and in America. ETF are seeing huge inflows from what we call managed funds or mutual funds. We’re seeing a huge movement out of mutual funds that tend to be too expensive into ETFs that are easy to trade. They’re quite liquid, and you can buy about any market. The beauty of that is that the average ma and pa can go and buy these things and gain diversity in their portfolios quite easily.
You had mentioned a statistic earlier of how low the percentage is of the amount of money people have in their 401K. Did you happen to look at the group over 50 or over 60 to see how much did they had? Or was that from eighteen? Would it be different?
I didn’t break it down, but I can tell you in Australia versus America, it’s going to be pretty similar. In Australia, the average in a superannuation account, similar to 401K, is about $77,000. Let’s call it $80,000. By retirement, for a man that’s about $320,000, but for a woman it’s about %45 lower. Women tend to have time out of the workforce, they tend to make up a large portion of the part‑time workforce, so they don’t have the capacity or the propensity to save as much for retirement. Those people that are probably divorced, I’m not sure exactly how it works in the U.S., but in Australia, the retirement pool makes up the asset pool for divorce, but those are divorced ten or fifteen years ago. The women have a lot less than the men because those divorce laws only came about in the 2000s. We are seeing this massive disparity between men and women of about 50% of retirement savings. It’s important to help your wife and help your partner to boost their retirement savings and spread the love. That’s what we’re teaching people over in Australia. Hopefully in the U.S., the same thing is happening.
I want to look at more of your videos because you have an interesting show and all the things you do are fascinating. Tell me a little about your book.
It’s called The One-Page Financial Plan. The idea is to try to make financial planning as easy as possible because if anyone goes and talks to a financial planner and you’re not an expert in financial planning, it can be a very confusing conversation. It’s full of jargon, acronyms and confusing discussions around money that most people don’t even want to have. A lot of people in Australia and in the U.S. are so confused by money that they prefer to stick their head in the sand and either ignore it or not deal with it head on. I would encourage you to go and find a financial advisor you can work with or go and educate yourself by buying a book. Go and buy anyone’s book, whether it’s mine or someone else’s. Someone else’s is probably going to be more relevant to the U.S., but there’re so many financial planners that have written books. Tony Robbins has got a book on wealth, go and read that. Robert Kiyosaki’s books, Rich Dad Poor Dad and The Cash Flow Quadrant, if you’re running a business. These books are twenty years old, but they are some of the best books ever written on money. There’re so many good books on business. I deal a lot with small business and entrepreneurs and they need to educate themselves on how to manage their money. Unlike a lot of companies, they don’t have retirement plans that are set up for them. They have to do it themselves. They’ve got to make sure that they’re well equipped in the way to be well equipped is through education.
I’m glad you brought up the Rich Dad Poor Dad because I had Sharon Lechter on my show. You’re very successful in Australia and it’s so nice of you to join us. How can people find out more about your show?
I’m on HendersonMaxwell.com.au if you want to find out a little bit about me. If anyone’s ever in Australia, drop me a line. Thank you so much for having me on your wonderful show. It’s a great honor and a great pleasure.
Thank you so much to Kenny and to Sam. If you’ve missed any of our past shows, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com/episodes. You can get there via DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com. Please sign up to get future episodes. We look forward to the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
About Kenny Nguyen
Kenny Nguyen is the CEO/cofounder of ThreeSixtyEight, a strategic marketing agency that challenges brands to embrace their creative confidence. Prior to ThreeSixtyEight, he founded Big Fish Presentations, a company whose mantra is “turning presentations into experiences.” His client work has included working with brands like GE, Verizon, CenturyLink, Mizuho, Quantcast, TED, NASA, Paramount Pictures. He has been featured on speaking platforms such as TEDx, Google Talks, Hubspot Inbound Conference, and General Assembly. He has contributed on Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo, Business Insider, Mashable, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post. He co-authored the McGraw-Hill published book The Big Fish Experience: Create Memorable Presentations that Reel in Your Audience. Since the release in 2016, it has been translated into two additional languages.
About Sam Henderson
Sam Henderson, is the CEO and Senior Financial Advisor at Henderson Maxwell. He is also known as Sam the Money Man. He hosts Foxtel’s Sky News Business Your Money Your Call – Retirement and ‘Financial Guru’ on Ten’s The Project. He is the author of The One Page Financial Plan, Financial Planning DIY Guide, SMSF DIY Guide. He is a regular columnist for Financial Review’s Smart Money and Money magazine. When he isn’t doing all of that, he is a public speaker and presenter on all things financial.
- Big Fish Presentations
- The Big Fish Experience: Create Memorable Presentations That Reel In Your Audience
- The Art of Saying No
- Assembly Required
- How To Be the Coolest Person in Your Funeral
- Henderson Maxwell
- Your Money, Your Call Retirement
- 10’s The Project
- The One-Page Financial Plan
- Money Magazine
- Genius Network
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- The Cash Flow Quadrant